Two people died and 15 were seriously injured when they were run over this Tuesday for a car in a pedestrian zone in the center of the south-western German city of Trier, according to police and local officials.
No authority specified whether it was an accident or an attack, but the incident comes four years after an Islamist killed 12 people by ramming a crowd at a Christmas market in Berlin, the German capital.
According to the Trier police, the driver was arrested.
According to witnesses, a dark Range Rover car that made people « fly through the air » by ramming a crowd of pedestrians near the city’s main market, reported the local daily Trierische Volksfreund.
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The car ran over parents with their children while moving towards the market, which this year did not open due to the coronavirus, the newspaper said.
« We have detained one person, a vehicle has been impounded. According to preliminary information two people were killed, » the Trier police wrote on their Twitter account.
« The circumstances of this event are unknown for now, » the tweet added.
A video uploaded to social media appeared to show police officers reducing a man to the ground behind a Range Rover after apparently running over the vehicle with his patrol car.
Mayor Wolfram Leibe told SWR news network that 15 people were injured, in addition to the two killed.
« A driver went crazy in the city center. We have at least two dead and 15 people with severe injuries, « confirmed the mayor.
« Right now we are trying to get information about the situation. Emergency services have responded from across the region, and now we are trying to prioritize saving people, » he added.
Police officers and rescuers came to the scene, and authorities asked residents to avoid going through the city center, the German news agency DPA reported.
Almost four years ago, a truck driven by a radical Tunisian Islamist rammed a Christmas market in Berlin, in an attack that left 12 dead and 56 injured.
The perpetrator of the December 19, 2016 attack was shot to death days later in Milan, northern Italy, and hours later the Islamist group Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.
In August 2019, six people were injured in Berlin in a series of road incidents that prosecutors described as suspected Islamist attacks.
Trier is located 200 kilometers west of Frankfurt, near the border with Luxembourg.
The city of about 110,000 inhabitants and considered the oldest in Germany, is known for its monuments from Roman times, its cathedral and its Church of Our Lady in Trier, all declared a World Heritage Site. It is also known because Karl Marx was born there.
The city’s iconic monument is the Porta Nigra, a gate erected in Roman times near which today’s incident occurred. Witnesses said that the car moved from Porta Nigra towards the market area.